Adventure, baguettes & the Global Explorer
In the heart of the beautiful 7th arrondissement of Paris, on the Left Bank just steps from the Eiffel Tower and the Seine River lives the American University of Paris or for short, AUP. Roughly 1,200 students speaking 76 different languages, representing 103 countries attend this global institution. About 50% of the student body is American but are who the university considers global explorers…..we will get to more of what this means later.
The school hasn’t changed much from its original mission in 1964, when the university was founded to break down the boundaries of neo-nationalism and bring a liberal arts university taught in English to Paris. Initially, it was built to bring children of diplomats and political figures and has grown to become one of the foundational liberal arts universities in Europe. The university now attracts students with an international mindset and openness to learn both inside and outside the classroom. How can you be in Paris and not use it as a classroom? Additionally, the close proximity to a variety of locations creates opportunities for additional travel and immersion projects.
What I like about this school is they have a clear vision of the students that are a fit for their school and this is what drives their entire mission, no square peg, round hole here. The president of the school believes, “students should find the university that helps them to become their best self.” Previously I mentioned that AUP is built of what they term, global explorers, this defines the student who will find their best fit at AUP. Determining who is a global explorer starts in the admissions process as the school selects students based on their fit scale. A global explorer is characterized as a student who is viewed as adventurous, quirky and unique; hungry for exploration and travel. Maybe the family has a diverse background, with a long list of passport stamps or the student has never traveled or owned a passport but has a spirit of exploration and displays a yearning to explore another culture. The global explorer fit is the value of match in the admissions process, over selectivity, test scores and other details of college applications.
I really liked how I could see how easy it was to interact in the class and communicate individualistically with the professor,and I loved Paris, too so I would also love to live there!
AUP has your typical majors, and interesting programs, such as their Global Professional Skills, but the true characteristic is the clarity in what they value in education. In a recent visit I heard professors or staff describe how AUP prepares students for a global world like:
Being not at home is the best productivity of growth.
The diverse classroom brings difference, and the difference is quite edgy and to gain the skills to negotiate difference in a healthy way and permeable to influence, to take in and reflect on your own values.
Personal growth and academic growth for preparation in creating a meaningful career.
Learning inside and outside the classroom with co-curriculum infused with Global Professional Skills to develop the overall nature of a student
Design thinking techniques built into the curriculum with students taking, designing your AUP experience, designing your life, designing your narrative.
Students at AUP are able to create an academic and career portfolio with an American liberal arts accreditation and a global experience of travel, internships, jobs and more. Alumni of AUP have gone on to a variety of different fields, such as duchesses, senators, actresses, diplomats, authors, journalists, etc.
A student who recently visited campus shared, “There are a lot of things I love about the school including the housing situation where we live in apartments, it’s cool because I’ll be living in an apartment with 4 to 5 other girls. I also really liked the size of the classes, when I visited the classes, there were no more than 15 students. I really liked this because I could see how easy it was to interact in the class and communicate individualistically with the professor, and I loved Paris, too so I would also love to live there!
I was scared that the small school size would limit my options socially. However, I don’t really think this anymore just because the ‘campus’ always had so many people walking around it didn’t feel small. Also, Paris is so big with other universities so I know I’ll be able to branch out if I want to.”